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AMA calls racism a ‘public health threat’

The American Medical Association Monday voted to recognize systemic racism and interpersonal bias by healthcare workers as a “serious” threat to public health that hinders efforts to achieve health equity and reduce disparities among minority populations.

The resolution, approved during a special meeting of the AMA House of Delegates, calls for the organization to acknowledge the role both historic and current “racist medical practices” have played in harming marginalized communities and for the group to develop a set of best practices to help stakeholders to address the effects of racism on patients and providers.

The country’s leading physicians group will also encourage medical education programs to do more to incorporate a greater understanding of the health effects of systemic racism within their curricula.

Addressing racial bias within medical education has received greater scrutiny in recent years as a growing number of medical schools have acknowledged the lack of attention

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For-profit hospital charges attacked by nurses union report

All but five of the100 hospitals with the highest price markups in 2018 were for-profit hospitals, and 53 of them were owned by HCA Healthcare, according to a prominent nurses union.

The report released Monday, the latest in a periodic analysis by the registered nurses’ union National Nurses United, used hospitals’ Medicare cost reports to calculate the ratio between hospitals’ charges and the cost of providing care, or their charge-to-cost ratios. The average ratio, it found, more than doubled between 1999 and 2018: from 200{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} to 417{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4}.

Nashville-based HCA, an investor-owned giant that has been enormously profitable in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, had an average charge-to-cost ratio of 1,043{f771d91d784324d4be731abc64bffe0d1fd8f26504ceb311bcfd8e5b001778f4} in 2018, among the highest in the country, the report found.

In a statement, HCA noted that the amounts patients pay are more reflective of their insurance than hospitals’ charges.

As the report itself states, “These charges are known

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Trump’s executive order on drug rebate rule may not be binding

The Trump administration’s executive order placing restrictions on rulemaking requiring middlemen to pass drug rebates directly to patients may not be legally binding.

HHS on Friday submitted a final rule to the White House budget office that would require pharmacy benefit managers to retain rebates paid by drugmakers. The president in July signed an executive order stating that the HHS secretary must publicly certify that any such policy will not increase insurance premiums, federal spending or Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs. However, regulatory experts say the agency could likely work around the order.

Drugmakers like the policy as it insulates patients from the sticker prices of some expensive drugs, while pharmacy benefit managers and insurers oppose it.

If the administration releases a final rule, it could go into effect in 60 days. That means the rule would need to be released this week to be effective before Inauguration Day, when any

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